Tue, Jan 22, 2013 - Page 15 News List

London bankers fearful of bonus cuts

Reuters, LONDON

Twice as many London bankers fear the dreaded “donut,” or zero bonus, in the current pay season compared to a year ago, according to a survey released yesterday.

Financial services recruitment firm Astbury Marsden said a poll of bankers in London showed 22 percent are not expecting a bonus of any kind from pay awards covering last year’s performance, compared to 11 percent a year ago.

Regulators and politicians are taking a harder line on excessive pay, and Astbury Marsden said 44 percent of those polled said this was negatively impacting their pay.

Banks including Barclays, Deutsche Bank, UBS and Goldman Sachs are also keen to cut costs in a tough environment and show they have learned lessons from the past, which is putting pressure on pay.

The Centre for Economics and Business Research predicts bonuses for last year in London’s financial sector will more than halve to £1.6 billion (US$2.5 billion) from last year, and will keep falling until 2015.

Bonuses — typically paid in February and March — will be down 86 percent from the record £11.5 billion paid out in 2007-2008, the center said.

Bonuses still make up a big percentage of pay in the industry, and managing directors expected them to be worth 88 percent of their base salary.

Almost half of those surveyed said they would look to change employer if they were unhappy with their bonus, the number of those who would look to move overseas fell to 14 percent, half the level of two years ago.

A separate survey released yesterday said a third of London financial workers expect their base pay to rise this year, as firms try to attract and retain the best talent.

Recruitment firm Morgan McKinley said 57 percent of financial workers it polled expected compensation to remain relatively flat this year and 33 percent expected a pay rise of up to 10 percent. Half of those expecting an increase cited firms’ need to attract and retain the best talent as the main reason.

Morgan McKinley said there was a 36 percent drop in registered job vacancies in financial services last month from the previous month to 1,323 positions.

It said it expects a pick up this month, as a seasonal slowdown last month was compounded by some banks postponing hiring until the new year.

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